The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, T.D., has said the Government will aggressively pursue new opportunities in emerging markets to boost job creation.
Speaking to Chartered Accountants Ireland at their annual event in the National Convention Centre, the Tánaiste said Irish exporters were driving the economic recovery, and that Ireland must now seek to expand and diversify its portfolio of trading partners to make sure that recovery is sustained.
The Tánaiste told the accountants’ body that full employment by 2020 is the target all Government departments and State agencies are working towards, adding that more needs to be done to boost the domestic economy.
He said the Government is also targeting 12,000 additional jobs for the construction sector over the next three years.
The Tánaiste said: “Some of the fastest growing economies in the world are now in Africa, and China will soon be the largest economy in the world. We have to develop and maintain our existing trading links, but we also have to build new ones – not just because we want a share of that growth, but because we need to diversify the sources of our income.
We must never again expose ourselves to a scenario where we are exclusively reliant on any one sector or market. As a country we are traditionally comfortable in the US, UK and European markets. Now we have to do more to build up a global footprint, led by diplomatic and cultural engagement, followed closely by trade”
The Tánaiste added that the expansion of Ireland’s diplomatic network to eight new locations across South East Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe is specifically designed to support Irish trade and investment:
“That is why I announced last week that we will be expanding our network of embassies and consulates overseas, opening eight new missions, to cover new and emerging markets such as Indonesia and Thailand, key financial and commercial centres such as Hong Kong and Sao Paolo, as well as deepening our relationships in the US by opening a consulate in the booming tech hub of Austin, Texas.”
On boosting the domestic economy, the Tánaiste added: “House building is currently at a level that is well below the long-term demand. We are now building about one third of the number of houses required to meet our needs.
“Getting residential construction up to what is the normal level of demand could create an extra 12,000 jobs, and Government is now making residential construction a priority.”